Saturday, Nov. 6, 2010
By Pat DiSabato
Trailing 17-7 late in the first half, Lyons quarterback Brian Kelley never wavered in his belief his team would register the victory on Friday night.
His faith was rewarded when the Lions outscored Sandburg 14-3 over the next 31:40 and posted a thrilling 21-20 victory in a Class 8A second-round battle in Western Springs.
Lyons (10-1) advances to play Mount Carmel (9-2) in the quarterfinals.
Of course, Kelley was instrumental in the comeback win, completing 10 of 14 passes for 119 yards and rushing for an additional 79 yards on 19 carries.
I knew we would come back, the 6-foot-3, 180-pound senior said. We have the best offensive line in the state. We just had to get behind them and move the football.
Kelley ignited the rally with a 1-yard touchdown run with two seconds remaining in the half that cut the deficit to 17-14 after Mike Petts point-after kick.
The Lions carried that momentum into the second half. But not before Sandburgs Taylor Zalewski split the uprights from 32 yards out for a 20-14 advantage with 1:44 remaining in the third quarter.
The Eagles six-point lead lasted all of 48 seconds. The Lions put together a three-play drive, capped by Jaime Jones 2-yard touchdown and Petts PAT for a 21-20 edge with 56.2 seconds remaining in the third.
Kelley hit Chris Klotz with a clutch 33-yard pass that set up the game-winning score.
We didnt doubt that wed come back, said Jones, who finished with 97 yards on 21 carries. Brian has a switch that he just seems to turn on. Hes a great leader.
The defeat was a tough one to swallow for Sandburg (8-3). The Eagles used a 5-yard TD run by Chris Gomez (5 yards), a 44-yard field goal by Zalewski and an 18-yard TD pass from Cody Miller to Tres Oliver to open up the 17-7 advantage. Oliver also completed a 40-yard halfback-option pass to a diving Javonte Keys that set up the Eagles third score of the half.
However, Sandburgs offensive firepower pretty much was nonexistent in the second half. Being whistled for 55 yards in penalties didnt help the cause. Lyons, on the flip side, was called for just 20 yards in penalties.
Miller completed 9 of 13 passes for 122 yards. Gomez led a balanced ground attack, recording 62 yards on 10 carries, while Jermell Harris (eight carries, 46 yards) and Brandon Gomez (six carries, 38 yards) helped keep the chains moving.
We didnt make the adjustment at the half we needed to make, Sandburg coach Dave Wierzal said. So we were making adjustment on the fly in the second half.
The Eagles had one last chance to win the game, taking over on their own 20 with 5:21 to go. Sandburg advanced the ball to its own 42, needing approximately 25 yards to give the strong-legged Zalewski a chance to attempt a 50-yard field goal. But some questionable play-calling sent the Eagles backward, where they would turn the ball over on downs from their own 38.
This was a great group of seniors, Wierzal said. They have a lot to be proud of.